NC Media Watch

A quest for reason and accuracy in letters to the editor, guest editorials and other issues of interest to the citizens of Western Nevada County.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Traffic reality check and alternatives

The Union editorial board, Meeting on traffic sends right signal, 1 December 2005
Those who spoke Tuesday night said the community needs to consider creating more bicycle trails as well as making the walking experience safer and more enjoyable. Another speaker talked about creating a program to encourage more use of the Gold Country Stage, our local bus service.
The 2001 National Household Travel Survey compares travel behavior in rural and urban areas of the United States. This is how people really travel, not how some people would like them too.

The study found that nation wide transit use for work is only 0.1 percent, walking 2.0 percent and biking 0.2 percent. Non-Work transit is 0.1 percent , walk 6.0 percent, and bike 0.9 percent. See Table 9 below.
mode_of_trans.gif

The 2000 Census travel-to-work survey found:

According to the Census Nevada County had 41,553 workers in 2000
Walked to work 1,084, which is 2.6 percent
Rode transit to work 285 which is 0.6 percent
Biked to work 377 which is 0.9 percent
Carpooled to work 5,168 which is 12.4 percent
Drove car to work 30,683 which is 73.8 percent
Worked from home 3,076 which is 7.4 percent
We've also reached the point where we need to consider new options to traffic concerns.
Look at the numbers above. Working from home took more cars off the road than walking, transit and biking together. So, promoting work from home is more effective in reducing congestion than all the other measures, except car pooling.
Therefore, our immediate traffic solutions are going to have to come from the community. A commitment to alternative styles of transportation is needed or the problems we complain about will not go away.
Given that transit rarely goes where people need to travel, that most of the County residence live out side the city limits of Grass Valley, it unlikely there will be huge changes in the next five years . Walking and biking in bad weather, which we have sixty five days of the year, and the steep terrain, does not promote these modes as alternatives either.

If all residence had a broadband connections, we could set up a shop from home scheme that uses local delivery trucks, to pick up the product and deliver it to the buyers door. This would reduce the number of trips per day for non-work activities.

This same broadband net work can be used to support a suite of medical monitoring systems, that would reduce the number of trips seniors would have to make to the doctor. Intel, Phillips, GE, IBM, and companies is Israel and Japan are working on these sensors. What is missing is universal broadband for all residence in Nevada County.

Broadband communications is an alternative to the need for vehicle travel. The Air Quality District estimates that eGoverment reduced the number of trips by 136,240 in one year. If more people had a broadband connection, this number could be higher.

For a private comment to Russ or George, for public comment select comments below.

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